Today, the day after Veterans Day, I want to thank all of the men and women who served our country in the military and were fortunate enough to return home.
As opposed to Memorial Day which is a solemn day honoring the people who served their country and paid the ultimate price, Veterans Day to me is more of a celebration and a time to remember friends and family who served.
Like most people, I can list family members who served in the military. Two of my great grandfathers fought in World War I. In fact, they were very close to each other in eastern France in the Alsace region which has flipped back and forth over the centuries between Germany and France. The only time I ever heard of the two of them talking about the war was one Christmas gathering when they figured out that they had been in several of the same villages. They did not discuss the trenches or actual battles.
My maternal grandfather was in the Army in the Philippines during World War II. His brother was also there and was able to track down my grandfather as he recovered from injuries. Both made it home in one piece and were true examples of what Tom Brokaw called the “Greatest Generation.”
Several other members of my family served in the military. Today, two nephews are officers in the Air Force and are early in their careers as pilots.
Countless friends, classmates and others I have known have served as well in the Marines, Air Force Army and Navy.
Some enlisted to carry on family traditions. Others were unsure of their futures and were looking for direction. Others joined after terrorist attacks and felt a deep desire to defend our country. All of them should know that they are appreciated.
It’s impossible to say it too often, too loudly or with too much conviction, but I just want to say it one more time.
“Thank you for your service.”
Until next time, I’m loving freedom paid for by our veterans.